Thursday, May 03, 2012

Simon Crafar: The Limit is Yours

In this video, Simon Crafar, who's raced in World Superbikes and MotoGP, says that motorcycling shouldn't be electronics. Rather, the limit should be yours, he says. Umm... we agree that that's how it should probably be on the track. But on the street, we think it's all right for riders to have whatever electronic aids that are available. If things like ABS and traction control can help boost safety and make you go a bit faster, hey, why the hell not?!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The five technologies that are making motorcycling safer for everyone

The human body was probably never designed to travel at triple-digit speeds, balanced precariously as it were on two wheels in the case of motorcycle travel. Motorcycling is an activity that’s inherently fraught with some amount of risk, but ongoing advances in technology are making it safer for bikers to go out and ride.

Sure, technology will never be a substitute for a large dollop of common sense, a high degree of alertness and rider training, but with those elements in place, there are some technologies that are now taking motorcycle safety to a higher level. Here, we take a look at what these technologies are and what they mean for motorcyclists.

motorcycle ABS motorcycle ABS
On the street, ABS can save motorcyclists' lives, period

Anti-lock Brakes

Various studies conducted in recent years in Europe and the US conclude that with anti-lock brakes (ABS) being fitted to motorcycles can lead to a very significant reduction in fatal motorcycle accidents. Admittedly, the percentage of possible reduction of such crashes varies from one study to the other – various studies peg that number from anywhere between 12% to as much as 48%. But even if we choose to believe only the lower numbers, ABS would still be a very worthwhile addition to all motorcycles.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

2012 Piaggio X10 range is all set to go touring

Piaggio X10
The Piaggio X10 range of scooters is available in 500, 350 and 125 versions
Piaggio X10 Piaggio X10 Piaggio X10

Piaggio have released pics and specs of the 2012-model X10 range of scooters, which are now available with 125cc, 350cc and 500cc engines. Part of Piaggio’s ‘Gran Turismo’ scooter range, the X10 series features bits like electrically-adjustable rear suspension, anti-lock brakes, backlit controls, an onboard trip computer with large LCD display, a USB port, LED daytime running lights and a very spacious luggage compartment that can take two helmets.

The Piaggio X10’s ergonomics have been optimized for long-distance travel, its large windscreen provides a significant amount of wind protection and its seat is broad, flat and plush, and features longitudinal adjustment of the lumbar cushion, which allows the rider to adjust and vary the space available to the passenger.

Engine options include 15bhp 125, 33bhp 350 and 41bhp 500cc single-cylinder units that are fully compliant with the most stringent of emissions norms anywhere in the world. The entire range gets a double-cradle steel tube chassis and the X10 rides on 15-inch (front) and 13-inch (rear) wheels, shod with 120/70 (front) and 150/70 (rear) tyres. Braking duties are handled by twin 280mm discs at the front and a single 240mm disc at the back. Piaggio’s combined braking system is standard across the range while ABS and anti-slip ASR are optional.

The X10 is available in brown, grey, white and blue colours and Piaggio offer a wide range of optional accessories for the scooter, including hard and soft luggage, passenger backrest and an electronic anti-theft system.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Shootout: Audi TT RS Plus vs Ducati 1199 Panigale S

The guys at Auto Bild magazine have pitched the Ducati 1199S Panigale against the Audi TT RS Plus. It's one-wheel-drive and 195bhp against Quattro four-wheel-drive and 360bhp. Who do you think is going to come out on top?
Hit the jump for a massive collection of high-res Ducati 1199S Panigale photographs...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shootout: Triumph Daytona 675R vs Ducati 848 EVO Corse SE

On this episode of On Two Wheels, Bradley Adams and Kent Kunitsugu of Sport Rider magazine pit Triumph's 2012 Daytona 675R against Ducati's 2012 848 EVO Corse SE. The battle begins at Streets of Willow racetrack in Rosamond, CA, then continues along the canyon roads of Southern California...

Fastest: In conversation with Mark Neale

Mark Neale, the man who's directed some of our favourite motorcycle films - Faster, The Doctor, Tornado and the Kentucky Kid, Charge, and Fastest - talks about his movies and how it really is inside the high-speed, high-adrenaline world of MotoGP

Saturday, April 21, 2012

2013 Honda CRF250L: More information, pics of Honda’s new dual-purpose bike

2013 Honda CRF250L
It looks a bit 1980s, but the new Honda CRF250L might actually be quite suitable for those who're looking for a light, easy to ride, non-intimidating dual-purpose motorcycle
2013 Honda CRF250L 2013 Honda CRF250L 2013 Honda CRF250L 2013 Honda CRF250L

Honda had unveiled the CRF250L at the Tokyo Motor Show in November last year and had later announced that the bike would go on sale in Europe in 2012. The company has now released more details of its new dual-purpose bike, a machine which they claim combines the on-road usability and off-road performance that was pioneered by the Honda XL250S in the 1970s.

‘The entire XL range proved that bolting an economical and easy-to-use single-cylinder four-stroke engine into a competent chassis created a bike that was useful, versatile and, as riders the world over found, fun,’ claim Honda. ‘The company’s long history – in terms of off-road competition and dual-purpose machinery – was a useful touchstone when development of the CRF250L first began, and inspired the team that worked on it from the outset,’ they add.

Drake's Passage: The Complete Series

Drake's Passage is a new travel series where Drake McElroy, a professional motocross rider, takes you on a new adventure every week, to some of the most wonderful, most interesting places in the world. In this first episode of the series, Drake travels to Mexico where he partakes in mezcal alcohol tasting, joins a mariachi band in Plaza Garibaldi, forces down pulque (er, more alcohol...) at a pulqueria, gets a religious cleansing and tries some sketchy street tacos...

Hit the jump for all other episodes of Drake's Passage. The page will be updated every week and we'll keep adding new episodes here until the series concludes

Motörhead. Fueled by Victory Motorcycles

Sex, drugs, Rock & Roll. Oh, yeah, and motorcycles too

Friday, April 20, 2012

Wild Rides: The eight ATVs that you should ride
The KTM 505 SX really is ready to race

KTM 505 SX

We start our Top 8 list of ATVs with the KTM 505 SX. Priced at $15,000 this ‘motocross-quad’ is, according to KTM, ‘a thoroughbred racing machine and just as uncompromisingly designed for victory as the MX motorcycles from KTM.’ The 505 SX is powered by a carbureted 477cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke 4-valve DOHC engine, mated to a five-speed gearbox. It has a double-cradle chromium-molybdenum steel tube chassis, fully adjustable WP suspension front and rear, Magura disc brakes with 4-piston calipers and weighs 165kg dry. KTM take their ‘ready to race’ tagline quite seriously and if you’re looking for a high-performance ATV, this Austrian machine is certainly a contender.
Think of the Yamaha Raptor 700R as an off-road R1

Yamaha Raptor 700R

The Yamaha Raptor gets a single-cylinder 686cc four-stroke 4-valve SOHC fuel-injected engine with electric start, five-speed transmission with heavy-duty clutch, comprehensive digital instrumentation, fully adjustable high-spec suspension, steel/aluminium hybrid chassis that’s light yet very strong and ergonomics that have been optimized for long-haul comfort. With its lightweight aluminium wheels shod with high-performance Dunlop radial tyres, the Raptor can handle all kinds of terrain and its chassis/suspension combo has been designed for stable yet nimble high-speed handling and dynamics. For your $8,399 this is one of the best high-performance ATVs you can buy.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ducati sold to Audi

Audi buys Ducati Audi buys Ducati image host image host
With Audi, we're sure Ducati is finally in safe, capable hands...

International Motorcycles S.p.A, a subsidiary of the Investindustrial Group (which had acquired Ducati in 2006), has announced the sale of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A to Audi AG. Part of the Volkswagen empire, Audi also owns Italian supercar manufacturer, Lamborghini.

Ducati’s motorcycle sales worldwide in 2011 stood at 42,200 units, which represents an 11% global market share and which generated revenues of 480 million euros. Ducati is currently working on expanding its operations beyond Europe, the US and Japan and into emerging markets in Asia, China and South America.

Ducati has thrived with us as a result of the intensive industrial turnaround and the commercial push into new, fast-growing markets. We are convinced that the company will continue to provide a bright and rewarding future to its customers and employees in the very capable hands of Audi,’ says Andrea C. Bonomi, Chairman, Investindustrial. ‘We believe that Audi is the best partner to continue the globalisation process that has already been successfully initiated. The management team, led by Gabriele Del Torchio, and the Ducati's skilled and passionate workforce have been a key element in turning the company into a global brand with some of the most exciting motorcycle models currently on the market. I am convinced Audi will be a responsible new owner, preserving the Italian workforce’s technology skills for a bright future for the Company,’ he adds.

Ducati is known worldwide as a premium brand among motorcycle manufacturers and has a long tradition of building sporty motorcycles. It has great expertise in high-performance engines and lightweight construction, and is one of the world’s most profitable motorcycle manufacturers. That makes Ducati an excellent fit for Audi,’ says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG.

In the meanwhile, Mercedes-AMG have announced that their tie-up with Ducati has been terminated.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Honda U3-X to make its European debut at the Museum of Architecture and Heritage in Paris

Honda U3-X
Honda U3-X, the 'Segway of unicycles,' will soon be shown in Paris
Honda U3-X Honda U3-X Honda U3-X

The Honda U3-X, a unique personal mobility concept device that was first shown at the Tokyo Motorshow in 2009, will make its debut in Europe later this month. Often described as the ‘Segway of unicycles,’ the U3-X will be shown at an exhibition titled ‘Getting Around,’ which will be open between April-August this year, at the Museum of Architecture and Heritage (Cite De L’Architecture et du Patrimione), in Paris.

The Honda U3-X is a self-balancing one-wheeled electric vehicle inspired by robotic technologies developed for ASIMO – Honda’s humanoid robot – and represents a new form of mobility. Inspired by ASIMO's ability to find its own balance point, the U3-X can stand upright by controlling its centre of gravity. A mono-wheel traction structure – Honda’s Omni Traction (HOT) Drive System – enables the U3-X to move freely and smoothly in all directions. Its regular large wheel is actually made up of several small wheels in a series, which can rotate independently, meaning that the U3-X can go forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally, all being controlled with a simple lean of the rider’s upper body.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Loris Capirossi is now BMW M’s MotoGP expert

image host
Loris 'Capirex' Capirossi will now be working closely with Dorna and BMW M as their MotoGP safety expert. We wish him all the best for the future!
image host image host

In a move aimed at extending the cooperation between BMW M GmbH and MotoGP organisers Dorna, the latter’s MotoGP safety consultant, Loris Capirossi, has now been appointed as the new BMW M MotoGP expert. With his 22-year motorcycle racing career, in which he took part in 328 races and won three world championships, Capirex is widely acknowledged as one of the most experienced motorcycle racers and is said to have an in-depth understanding of MotoGP riders' concerns.

BMW have been involved in the MotoGP since 1999 and provide the official safety cars. In 2006, BMW’s partnership with Dorna was taken over by BMW M GmbH, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. ‘Our involvement in this motor racing event gives us perfect access to a crucial target group: motorcycle racers with a predilection for fast cars. The motorcycle world championship offers fascination, emotion, high-tech and international flair – all factors which are closely associated with BMW M. This is another reason why we feel so at home here,’ says Thomas Schemera, Head of Sales and Marketing at BMW M.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

When Cagiva went GP racing

Cagiva 500cc motorcycle GP racing
Back in the early 1990s, John Kocinski and Eddie Lawson actually won a race or two aboard Cagiva's fiery, red, utterly gorgeous 500cc GP racebikes
Cagiva 500cc motorcycle GP racing Cagiva 500cc motorcycle GP racing Cagiva 500cc motorcycle GP racing

Set up in 1950 by Giovanni Castiglioni in Varese, Italy, Cagiva started with making metal components and moved on to making motorcycles in 1978. The company went on to become a bit of a European motorcycle industry powerhouse, buying out Ducati and Moto Morini in 1985, Husqvarna in 1987 and MV Agusta in 1991.

During an extensive restructuring of the company in 1999, however, MV Agusta came out on top as the company’s primary motorcycle brand and the Cagiva name went into gradual decline. They were still building some 125s until 2-3 years ago but have now stopped completely – Cagiva motorcycles are no longer being produced.

It does seem weird that a brand which at one time owned Ducati, Husqvarna and MV Agusta, and which was even present in 500cc motorcycle GP road racing in the 1980s and 1990s, no longer exists, but for Cagiva, that’s how the dice rolled. For us, more than their street bikes, what’s truly fascinating is their 1990s 500cc GP racing bikes, which were ridden by riders like Virginio Ferrari, Jon Ekerold, Marco Lucchinelli, Randy Mamola, Eddie Lawson, John Kocinski, Mat Mladin and Doug Chandler.

Friday, April 13, 2012

zecOO: Electric low-rider from Japan

zecOO electric low-rider
We think Nezu san (above) has done a pretty good job with the zecOO
zecOO electric low-rider zecOO electric low-rider zecOO electric low-rider

Designed by Kota Nezu, of Znug Design, the zecOO is an electric low-rider that may go into limited production later this year. The battery-powered zecOO’s electric motor produces 21kW and 65Nm of torque and the bike weighs 245kg dry. With its ‘vertical twin frame,’ single-side front and rear swingarms, hub-centre steering and spacecraft-like bodywork, the zecOO looks quite funky. Riding on 18-inch wheels, shod with 180/55 (front) and 240/40 (rear) tyres, this low-rider certainly scores on the style front. More information on the official website

Pics: Kazunobu Yamada

2012 Yoshimura Limited Edition GSX-R1000, the stuff our fantasies are made of!

2012 Yoshimura Limited Edition Suzuki GSX-R
The Yoshimura GSX-Rs look fabulous!
2012 Yoshimura Limited Edition Suzuki GSX-R 2012 Yoshimura Limited Edition Suzuki GSX-R 2012 Yoshimura Limited Edition Suzuki GSX-R

Yoshimura have announced their new Limited Edition Suzuki GSX-R1000, GSX-R750 and GSX-R600, which get a custom paintjob, Yoshimura R-77 Carbonfibre exhaust slip-ons (EPA noise-compliant) and a selection of CNC-machined aluminium parts, including case savers, chassis protectors, axle adjuster blocks, race stand stoppers, bar ends and an engine plug kit. Each bike also gets an individually numbered Limited Edition badge.

We are big fans of Yoshimura and while the 750 and 600 are also pretty cool, we’ll admit the Yoshimura GSX-R1000 is the bike of our dreams, our Sunday morning fantasies. More information on these bikes, on the Yoshimura website

Monday, April 09, 2012

Brembo: MotoGP vs F1, and the future of braking

MotoGP riders do it with one or two fingers, while F1 drivers need a whole leg...
MotoGP MotoGP MotoGP

What goes, must also stop. And we suppose what goes hard must stop harder, if anything. Which is where Brembo come in – their braking systems are responsible for stopping duties on fast machines in various kinds of motorsport, including F1, WRC, World Superbikes and MotoGP. In their May 2012 issue Fast Bikes magazine have taken an in-depth look at Brembo and the high-tech engineering that goes into building some of the best, most advanced braking systems in the world. Especially interesting is a snippet of Fast Bikes’ conversation with Roberto Pellegrini, Retail and Road Performance Motorbike Market Manager, Brembo Racing, where Pellegrini talks about the differences between braking set-ups in F1 and MotoGP. Here are some excerpts from what he had to say:

‘The Brembo calipers used in MotoGP and F1 are actually very similar – the only major difference is that the bikes use four pistons and the cars, six pistons per caliper. Both calipers are constructed from a lithium-aluminium alloy in a one-piece monobloc design, with titanium pistons, and both are radially mounted. I can’t tell you the sizes of the pistons – that’s a secret – but they are pretty similar. The big differences are the pressure and the clamping forces created,’ says Pellegrini.

Random Ramblings